Review: Taken (2008)

TAKEN POSTER 2009

“You don’t remember me? We spoke on the phone two days ago. I told you I would find you.”
– Bryan Mills

Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) is a retired CIA operative that has moved to California to be closer to his daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace). His ex-wife, Lenore (Famke Janssen), has remarried Stuart (Xander Berkeley), and he seems to outdo Bryan on all fronts. Bryan is trying his hardest, but it seems Stuart is always upstaging him. Kim just turned seventeen and Bryan buys her an expensive karaoke machine because she always wanted to be a singer.

Friends come over to visit Bryan, and Sam (Leland Orser) convinces Bryan to take on a quick and easy job getting a singer to and from her gig. He decides to do it, as it is a few hours work for a decent sum of cash, and scores points with his daughter when she hears her father is looking after Sheerah (Holly Valance). Things go wrong at the show, and Bryan saves Sheerah’s life, and she is now indebted to him, and sets him up with her vocal trainer and manager’s numbers for him so he can take Kim there and maybe realize her dream of becoming a singer.

He thinks he has his foot half in the door when Kim calls him to meet with her for coffee, and unbeknownst to him, Lenore joins them. It eventually comes out that Kim wants him to sign off on her travel documents to let her leave the country for France, seeing as she is under eighteen.

Bryan is very unimpressed, and after arguments and all of that, he finally signs off on her forms with a very strict set of rules. When dropping her at the airport, Kim asks her father what he did for a living, and he briefly explained his position as that of “preventor”, and that it made him very aware of the brutalities of the world. Once at the airport, Bryan finds out that his daughter is in actual fact not going to see the museums around Paris, but follow U2’s European Tour. As upset as he is, his wife makes an issue out of his just letting it go, and against his better judgment, he does.

When Kim and her friend Amanda (Katie Cassidy) arrive in Paris, they are greeted by a man who offers to share their cab with them, and he invites them to a party later. Amanda shares too much information about their living arrangements with him, and he calls his friends up. Bryan establishes that Kim’s flight landed hours before and that she has not called, and so he decides to ring her. Kim only answers on the second call, and in the space of a few minutes, sees Amanda getting taken by some strange men. Bryan’s “preventor” instincts kick in, and he walks his daughter through what is about to happen to her.

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Now Bryan needs to save his little girl in a foreign country, from men that his contacts have discovered to be a human trafficking ring. He has a window of roughly ninety-six hours to recover his daughter before she slips off the face of the earth. Time is against him, and he works rapidly, calling is as many of  his old contacts as he can to track his daughter down and bring her home safely. Lenore finally realizes the importance of what Bryan did and what he gave up. As time runs out, the path of destruction he leaves in his wake grows, and starts setting alarm bells off for the French authorities  who want him out of their country as soon as possible.

Taken scores a definite 7.5/10 for me. I loved the movie the first time I watched it, and I thoroughly enjoyed it again. It has tainted my perception of travelling a little bit, but the world is my oyster and will still be explored in detail! I did, however, come to the conclusion that I need to find a friend with a very specific skill set… maybe I can have my brother trained? Taken was incredibly action packed,  but had enough emotion put into it to bring a sense of realism to it. There was not really an overkill of anything in particular, and the aspects were all brought together very well. The betrayal is potent, and the desperation is tangible. I still think it is great how Liam Neeson plays his roles, and so successfully, too. He is awesome, and plays his hardcore yet emotional roles very well. It is terrifying to think that trafficking happens every single day, and I think that this movie awoke the brutal truth of it all to many people.

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